Elderly man accused in 'mercy killing' of wife goes missing

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A man accused in the so-called "mercy killing" of his wife failed to show up for a court appearance Monday.

Now, authorities are searching for Howard Rudolph, 78, of Sun City.  Rudolph faces second-degree murder charges. He was supposed to appear in court Monday for a pre-trial conference but never showed. Authorities believe he cut his monitoring device from his ankle.

Rudolph is accused of shooting and killing his wife, Earlene, in August.

"I had to do it," Rudolph told Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies after his arrest, according to court paperwork.

Investigators believe Rudolph intended to kill himself after allegedly killing his 73-year-old wife inside their Sun City home.

Investigators said Rudolph had written a note to his attorney containing specific instructions on how "the bodies" should be cremated and how the couple’s home should be handled.

The Rudolphs had been married for 13 years.

MCSO believes Rudolph is driving a white Lincoln sedan. Officials are asking for the public's help finding him.